An Interview with Carla Peele

 

 

A few days ago, I posted my review of The White Rose of Nightfall by Carla Peele. Carla was nice enough to submit to the torture also known as one of my interviews. So read on to learn a little bit more about this up and coming author.

 

 

 Carla’s Interview

 

Tell me a little bit about yourself. 

Well, I was born in Mullins, South Carolina– where I have lived all my life and still do. In fact, my kids go to the same elementary school I attended.
For my influences, for years I have enjoyed Christopher Golden, S.E.Hinton, and of course Margaret Sidney and Louisa May Alcott, as well as M.M. Kaye. (There are others, but those are my top five over time.)

 

How long have you been writing?

On and off, I have been writing stories since I was eleven. I actually wrote “fanfic” when I was 12, which was way before I knew it even existed.  I had no exposure to it until I was 18 years old when I first got the internet, but it was “practice stories” for me. I wanted to improve and get better and eventually write books that became movies or just movies.

 

Do you have a favorite genre to read? Is it different from what you like to write?

I don’t really have a favorite; I’m very eclectic that way. When I was younger, I enjoyed certain book series, like “The Stepsisters”, “Girl Talk”, “Sweet Valley High”, stuff like that, but I’ve also enjoyed “Harry Potter” and “The Outsiders”… adventure, fantasy… Comic book characters… I am a romantic, but it has to be an extremely special book for it to be a straight romance and me still enjoy it; I need a heaping spoon of adventure or fantasy– or both– thrown in.

 

What is the best part of being an author?

It’s relaxing. I just enjoy it, and it gives me the hope that someday I’ll get to see my dreams come to fruition and some of my stuff will be on the big screen. And dreams are what drives your life– keeps you going. Another thing is that it’s important to me to show my children that no matter how long some things might take, if it’s important to you, you should always persevere.

 

What’s the worst part in your opinion?
The worst? Trying to get your foot in the door in an industry that doesn’t really welcome any newbies. At ALL. You can’t get an agent unless you’ve done something, and you can’t do something unless you get an agent– blah, vicious cycle. That is why I went the indie route. However, that has its good and bad points, too, because you’re doing all the promoting yourself, on whatever budget you have, which means even with the internet, it’s hard to just get out there; you have to hope someone finds you by accident, and that it’s the right someone, who can help you make something happen.

 

How do you find time to write when you have kids and a husband?
There isn’t a lot, really; especially in the summer, but when they are at school I have a little bit of time.

 

What do we have to look forward to from you and your books?

I have written the first half of a sequel to “The White Rose of Nightfall”, and am also working on a book with my husband, Andy, of a different genre; quasi “Dungeons and Dragons”, but not exactly. You get the idea.

 

I read White Rose. I really liked it but noticed that it had a whole lot of characters and scenes. Is there a reason you chose to put them all into one story instead of spreading them out into multiple books?
Thank you. Well, my intention for “The White Rose” was always to be one of a series, never a stand-alone book. From the get-go I planned to write at least three.

 

How was the transition for you to go from writing a Paranormal Romance (White Rose) to an Erotica (The Underground)?

Well, “The Underground” was actually an experiment, because I was in talks with an e-book publisher, who only wanted “super-erotic”, so, I set out to see where I could go with that.

 

Is there anything you would like our readers to know about you or your books before they get into them?
Well, “Peter Pan II” was officially approved as a sequel to the original “Peter Pan”, but it is written as a stage-play, not in novel format. I would also have to say that I’m a fan of “Happily Ever After”, though what that is for one person may not be for another, so do not think that makes my works predictable.

 

If you could work with any author who would it be?

Without a doubt, Joss Wheedon or Christopher Golden, because both men have the ability to write my beloved comic book characters “properly”, in a way that many have failed to over the years.

 

Who is your favorite author or any recent work that you admire?
Well, I really am enjoying the Marvel movies done by Joss Wheedon, but as far as books, Jim Gaffigan’s last book was wonderful; so hilarious.

 

What’s your favorite part of a book to read and/or to write?
I don’t really know that I have a “favorite”; I enjoy so many parts of it, but I think I cling to scenes where people are protective of one-another for some reason.

 

Do you put a lot of thought into the titles of your books?

Yes, sometimes I put a blank cover page on my book for a few chapters or change the title five or six times before I come up with one that I’m happy with, because I want it to “fit” with my vision of what the book is.

 

Did you always want to write?

Since I can remember, yes. Even when I was little, I would watch a television show and find myself rewriting it in my head to suit my satisfaction and replaying it with my Barbies, or asking my mother over and over “And what if so-and-so had said THIS instead??” (which I know probably drove her crazy, ha ha, but I was six…)

How do you relax?

Watching movies, hanging out with my three favorite guys (my husband and sons), or just reading a good book, or writing one on my own.

 

Strangest place you’ve gotten an idea for a story?

A dream would be the strangest– because my dreams are always extremely odd, but I’ve gotten some good story ideas from there, too; or at least kickstarts. (You would be surprised how many people say the shower. I would think that your answer would be more common! I’ve actually gotten story ideas from dreams also)

 

How many hours do you work a day on the process of writing a book?
It doesn’t work like that for me. First and foremost, I’m a stay-at-home Mommy and housewife, so I have things to do around the house and I have my boys to take care of. Writing is just a matter of the inspiration hitting, and hoping that it hits me at a time when I can get fingers to keyboard.

 

Who inspires you?

My husband, Andy, is very good at inspiring me. He is my sounding board, and I love him for it. I have also gotten some great ideas from random things my children say that I fit into my things in very in-obvious ways.  I‘ve known Andy since 1996 or so, and I’m glad he finally found someone like you to share his love of comics and action figures with 🙂

 

Do you Fan Girl over any specific authors?
Joss Wheedon and Christopher Golden– they are brilliant.

 

 

Has your pet ever eaten your manuscript?
No; fortunately my pets cannot get into my computer.

 

Do you have any advice for an aspiring writer?
Develop a thick skin, and realize that it’s going to be a long hard road, no matter how good you are, but if you really want it, never stop trying.

 

What (or who) is your greatest treasure?

My husband and sons, no contest.
If you could go back in time to get one thing from your childhood, what would it be and why?

Ooooh, so easy– I totally regret that I cannot find this one Lou Ferrigno Incredible Hulk doll with Log Throwing Action that I had as a little girl. I adored that thing– I would replace Ken with The Hulk because I felt he wasn’t “manly” enough, LOL.

 

If you could meet anyone from history who would it be and why?

Christopher Reeve or Laura Ingalls Wilder. Christopher Reeve because I think he was not only extremely talented, but intelligent and brave. Laura Ingalls Wilder because I think she was a very strong and brave herself– one of the first feminists.

 

If you could visit any time period, what would it be and why?

That’s a difficult one! There are so many that are fascinating to me, and that I’d like to check out! But I think I might want to see a real dinosaur or mammoth…

 

Do you ever write naked?

Not usually, no, ha ha.

 

Are there any occupational hazards to being a novelist?
So far only frustration and low, non-steady pay. (But I love it still.)

 

What do you/did you want to be when you grow/grew up?
I wanted to make movies/TV shows– maybe books.

 

Who would play you in a film of your life?
Hm, can I choose Mila Kunis?

 

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Relax. Nothing is going to happen exactly as you expect or when you think it will, but that’s because things happen in their own time when it’s truly best for you.

 

Is there anything that you think your readers would be surprised to know about you?
That I’m a huge 80s buff. Me too!!! I love 80’s music.

 

If we were to get arrested together (or be on the news together for something lol), what would it be for?
Hm, breaking into the comicon dressing room of Robert Downey Jr. to meet him?  mmmm Robert Downey Jr…..

 

Do you have any serious pet peeves?
Yes! Making up crazy words and purposeful misspelling. I’m not prissy about it, but, when people spell things like “Kewl” or talk about “twerking”… it just makes my skin crawl, seriously. I hate that too. I really don’t get the “kewl” thing. It’s not like you are shortening the word or making it any easier to write/text. If you are going to do it, it at least needs to have a semi-valid reason!

 

What is the strangest thing you’ve ever been asked to autograph?
Well, I’m not exactly famous yet, so thus far I’ve only ever been asked to autograph books, but I look forward to it being something more interesting one day.

 

Where is the most exciting place you have visited in connection to either a book or book event?
I haven’t really had any opportunity to travel in connection with my writing– or much at all, but the most exciting place I’ve gone is Maui on my honeymoon. (Haven’t been anywhere I couldn’t drive to since, however.)

What is your most embarrassing book related moment?
Well, I don’t know about embarrassing, but frustrating and anger-inducing, at the least, was probably when I called up an agency about representation, and the person I spoke to was like, “If you aren’t willing to pick up and move to New York or L.A. and get a connection, or shell out the money to hire an entertainment lawyer, you must not want to be a writer that much, and really don’t deserve it.” I was like, “What??” I want it very much, but you can’t pull money out of thin air that doesn’t exist to do things. You just have to keep trying… I was frustrated and hurt by that for a while, but I realized that if it’s meant to be it’ll be. It’s not only people who start out with money that deserve things. It’s also those who are willing to work for it any way they can– even if their options are limited.

 

 

Favorites

Authors-  Christopher Golden, Joss Wheedon, S.E. Hinton, Margaret Sidney, Louisa May Alcott, Laura Ingalls Wilder,Tina Oaks, JK Rowling, Helen Fielding, Jane Lynch, Jim Gaffigan

Music- Glee, 80s music, Katy Perry, Avril Lavigne

Movie-  Old: The Outsiders  New: Avengers

Vacation spot- Maui

Halloween costume- One year my kids went as Mario and Luigi and I went as the Princess

Avenger- Iron Man or Captain America

Dessert- Loaded sweet potato with marshmallow, cinnamon-butter and brown sugar from Texas Roadhouse

Sport- Not a huge sports person

Comic book- Avengers or Flash

Comic hero and heroine- Lois and Clark or Wally and Linda

Cartoon- Dungeons & Dragons or Scooby Doo

 

This or that

Vampires or werewolves- Vampires
Beach or mountains- mountains
Cats or dogs- dogs
Beer, wine, or liquor-  liquor– but only if it’s sweet
Paperback or e-reader- paperback; I like to have the book in my hands. I do not have an e-reader yet.
Chocolate or vanilla- Neither. Salted caramel.

 

 

Happy reading,

Melanie

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